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Women's Prize for Fiction 2013

I've had a little hunt round today, looking for copies of the books on the Women's Prize Longlist. I've already read Alif the Unseen, Gone Girl and Bring Up the Bodies, and I have found my copies of The Light Between Oceans, The Forrests and The Marlowe Papers. Those last two I have started, but they both got put to one side. The Forrests did not suit my mood at the time, and although I thought The Marlowe Papers was wonderful the poem format meant I couldn't read as speedily as I usually do. I read quickly, and poetry has never been a natural fit for me. But, I intend to give each another go, and if either is on the shortlist then I will definitely read it cover to cover.

I managed to get N-W and Honour from the library today. At first glance I'm looking forward to Honour more. There are a few others I would like to get hold of, and I am certainly buying the Kate Atkinson Life After Life.

Of the three I have read Alif the Unseen is by far my favourite. It is a clever mix of ancient storytelling and modern society. I reviewed it on the blog a little while ago. Whilst I was reading Gone Girl I was really gripped by it, but I'm not exactly sure what I think about it in retrospect. I'll have another stab at writing a review soon. My copy of Bring Up the Bodies is AWOL at the moment, I've probably lent to someone and forgotten about it. Anyway, I loved Wolf Hall, found it clever and surprising and innovative. I thrust it into the hands of unsuspecting customers time and time again at work. I was desperate for Bring Up the Bodies to be released, and bought it on publication day even though it was my day off from work! But, it just didn't click in the same way. I'm so sad to say that I finished it feeling a bit deflated. I adore historical fiction, especially when set in the 16th century, but I didn't connect with it the same way I had with Wolf Hall. I wasn't even as keen on the title or cover. If it sails straight through to the shortlist I will most likely read it again, and hopefully recapture the excitement I felt.

The longlist in full is:
Kitty Aldridge, A Trick I Learned From Dead Men
Kate Atkinson, Life After Life
Ros Barber, The Marlowe Papers
Shani Boianjui, The People of Forever Are Not Afraid
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Sheila Heti, How Should A Person Be
A.M. Homes, May We Be Forgiven
Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behaviour
Deborah Copaken Kogan, The Red Book
Hilary Mantel, Bring Up The Bodies
Bonnie Nadzam, Lamb
Emily Perkins, The Forrests
Michèle Roberts, Ignorance
Francesca Segal, The Innocents
Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Elif Shafak, Honour
Zadie Smith, N-W
M.L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans
Carrie Tiffany, Mateship With Birds
G. Willow Wilson, Alif The Unseen

I cannot commit to reading the longlist, especially as the shortlist is only a month away, but I think it still makes a good list to pick and choose from. I'm going to use it a suggested reading list; the shortlist can be the mandatory texts! There's more information about the Women's Prize on their website, and I've also read some interesting blogs about the longlist - try Farm Lane Books, Savidge Books, and The Writes of Women for more opinions and chitter chatter.


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